20 players have told me they’re gay, says top football boss

Robbie Rogers and Thomas Hitzlsperger (Getty)

More than 20 football players are gay but scared to come out, the former director of a top club has said.

David Haigh, Leeds United’s openly gay ex-Managing Director, said gay footballers from both the Premier League and the Championship had approached him for advice.

Haigh, who was jailed in Dubai for more than seven months, revealed that footballers had contacted him while he was promoting LGBT rights at Leeds with Stonewall in 2013.

YEOVIL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 08: David Haigh, CEO of Leeds United, looks on during the Sky Bet Championship match between Yeovil Town and Leeds United at Huish Park on February 08, 2014 in Yeovil, England. (Photo by Rob Munro/Getty Images)

David Haigh (Getty)

“There are many people, including players and agents, who approached me and 20 is a fair number in my view.”

“I wanted a group to come out together,” he added. “My figure on the number of gay players is probably a gross underestimate.

“That is from my experience. They are still playing, in the Premier League, and the Championship.

“When people feel safe, they will confide in you.”

The last player to come out while playing was Justin Fashanu, who came out in 1990 but died by suicide in 1998 after years of homophobic abuse.

Justin Fashanu

There has never been an out gay footballer in the Premier League.

The revelation comes just days after former Premier League footballer Carl Hoefkens revealed two of his teammates in England were out as gay to the rest of the squad.

Hoefkens, a Belgium international who played for Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion in the mid-00s, said that “one of them would even arrive at training with his boyfriend.

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